Almost simultaneously, there is a similar shift going on in Public Safety radio. Voice centric operations are being augmented by high bandwidth data communications. Once again broadband technology, in this case using the endorsed Long Term Evolution (LTE) standard, is being employed to facilitate this shift. LTE is a powerful cellular technology standard intended to greatly increase the speed and capacity of mobile networks. With LTE, users have the data capacity needed for anytime, anywhere access to video, high-definition imagery and other multimedia content.
Broadband LTE will enhance operational efficiency through the real-time transmission of data to/from the field and amongst agencies. The ubiquitous deployment of broadband using a single standard (LTE) will provide a fully interoperable broadband communications environment for Public Safety, improving situational awareness and providing a common operating picture.
Taking the First Step
But, many service providers and PSAPs are now finding themselves limited by equipment and networks that are incapable of providing a cost effective evolution to NG9-1-1 and to broadband applications. Planning is the key first step in implementing an NG9-1-1 solution and realizing the improvements that it will bring. Solution planning considerations must include the selection and deployment of a fully NENA i3 compliant Emergency Services IP Network (ESInet) and multimedia “call” processing platform as well as identifying operational changes that are needed for the PSAP to take advantage of the NG9-1-1 data and environment.
Technology now allows the option to build an ESInet solution with the flexibility to host a single PSAP or multiple PSAPs by employing a redundant, resilient, geo-diverse design/deployment architecture versus having separate controllers at every PSAP location. This type of PSAP design provides initial cost savings, and puts the PSAP in control of alternate routing and backup capabilities. Additional PSAPs can be added later with a minimal amount of equipment, or existing PSAPs can be consolidated in the future.Ultimately, this leverages greater economies of scale for better return on investment in these challenging budget times. It can also offer new and improved levels of service such as regional disaster recovery backup PSAPs, as well as hosted services like emergency notification or Managed Services.
As developed by ATIS, RFAI was always intended to be a voice only, transitional protocol. This can be seen in the ATIS RFAI Protocol Document which communicates that once the NENA i3 standard is approved and available for use, RFAI is no longer needed.
Implementing a NENA i3 complaint ESInet without ever deploying the RFAI transitional protocol will provide the PSAP another additional benefit…cost savings. Implementing an i3 ESInet in the beginning saves the cost and disruption associated with the inevitable later transition from RFAI to i3 and/or associated with additional interfaces required to enable multimedia processing on a RFAI ESInet.
In addition to the convergence of voice, video and data communications, Cassidian Communications vision also includes the use of Emergency Service IP Networks (ESINets) interconnect PSAPs, Dispatch Centers and other agencies to provide full interoperability and to promote operational collaboration and through the secure sharing of relevant data bases (such as map data), incident information and multimedia content. For more information, please contact us at RCS Communications.